Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day: July 17, 2016

Shrine of the Eternals Class of 2016

The Baseball Reliquary will present the 2016 Induction Day ceremony for its eighteenth class of electees to the Shrine of the Eternals on Sunday, July 17, 2016, beginning at 2:00 p.m., at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena, California.  Admission is open to the public and free of charge.  The inductees will be Don Newcombe, Bo Jackson, and Arnold Hano.  The keynote address will be delivered by Michael Fallon.  In addition, the Baseball Reliquary will honor the recipients of the 2016 Hilda Award, Tom Derry, and the 2016 Tony Salin Memorial Award, Neftalie Williams.

For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at  The 2016 Induction Day is made possible, in part, by a grant to the Baseball Reliquary from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Following is a brief preview of the day’s festivities:

The program will commence with an Induction Day tradition, the ceremonial bell ringing in honor of the late Brooklyn Dodgers fan Hilda Chester; everyone who attends is encouraged to bring a bell to ring for the occasion.  The National Anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” will be performed by singer-songwriter and 2014 ASCAP Plus Award recipient JAY SPEARS.

Tom Derry

Tom Derry

The first presentation will be the Hilda Award, established in memory of legendary Brooklyn Dodgers fan Hilda Chester to recognize distinguished service to the game by a baseball fan.  The 2016 recipient, TOM DERRY, is founder of the Navin Field Grounds Crew, an all-volunteer group which, between 2010 and 2016, preserved and maintained the historic Tiger Stadium playing field in Detroit, transforming a demolished local landmark, neglected by the city, into a baseball mecca.  The Navin Field Grounds Crew was the subject of a 2014 documentary, Stealing Home, and the group was recently honored at home plate with the “Spirit of Detroit” award, one of the highest recognitions in Detroit.  Derry has also, for 29 consecutive years, hosted a birthday celebration for Babe Ruth on the first Saturday in February.  The ultimate hot-stove league party has become a major baseball happening, with a thousand Ruthian rooters from all over the country packing into Nemo’s Bar in Detroit for this year’s festivities.

Neftalie Williams

The second presentation will be the Tony Salin Memorial Award, named in memory of the late baseball author and historian, and established to recognize individuals for their commitment to the preservation of baseball history.  The 2016 recipient, NEFTALIE WILLIAMS, is a photojournalist, writer, scholar, and recent graduate from the University of Southern California’s Master of Public Diplomacy program.  Williams is bringing a new level of understanding to racial dynamics in America as the Research and Development Director for the African-American Experience in Major League Baseball (AAEMLB) oral history project.  An ambitious undertaking by the Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society at the University of Southern California, the AAEMLB was established to collect and preserve interviews with every living African-American baseball player from the first 25 years after Major League Baseball’s racial integration, from 1947 to 1971 – comprising well over 100 subjects, many of whose personal histories remain largely undocumented.

Michael Fallon

Following the award presentations, the 2016 keynote address will be delivered by MICHAEL FALLON, a writer based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.  Since 1997, he has published hundreds of reviews, feature articles, essays, and profiles on all sorts of subjects, including art, Southern California, baseball, music, food, American social and cultural history, and more.  Fallon is the author of the recently-published book Dodgerland: Decadent Los Angeles and the 1977-78 Dodgers and Creating the Future: Art and Los Angeles in the 1970s.

Don Newcombe

The keynote address will be followed by the formal induction of the 2016 class of electees to the Shrine of the Eternals.  Born in 1926, DON NEWCOMBE was a power pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1949-1957.  At 6’4” and 220 pounds, “Newk” cut an intimidating figure on the mound, and was the most feared pitcher in baseball for several glorious seasons with the Dodgers during the franchise’s glory days in Brooklyn.  He copped Rookie of the Year honors in 1949 after posting a 17-8 record, and in 1951 he became the first African American pitcher to win 20 games in a season.  After finishing the 1956 campaign with a stellar 27-7 record, he was named the National League MVP and Cy Young Award winner.  The last living Dodgers link to Jackie Robinson, Newcombe battled virulent racism for most of his career, and later struggled with alcoholism and cancer.  In 1970, ten years after his playing career ended, he was tabbed by the Los Angeles Dodgers to run baseball’s first community relations program.  At age 90, he remains a fixture at Dodger Stadium.  Newcombe’s induction will be introduced and accepted by MARK LANGILL, the Team Historian of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  A member of the front office since 1994, Langill previously covered the ballclub as a Pasadena Star-News beat reporter from 1989 to 1993.  The Cal State Northridge graduate has written five books about the Dodgers, including Game of My Life and Dodger Stadium.

Bo Jackson

Born in 1962, VINCENT EDWARD “BO” JACKSON remains one of the most recognizable names in American athletics even though he hasn’t appeared on a field of play in over twenty years.  At Auburn University, Jackson won the 1985 Heisman Trophy as the best collegiate football player in America, and he would later thrill fans of the Los Angeles Raiders in the NFL with his electrifying runs from scrimmage.  Unlike other gridiron stars who found the diamond a personal field of screams, Bo excelled as an outfielder and designated hitter for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels in the years 1986-1994.  His titanic home run in the 1989 All-Star Game, for which he was named MVP, still hasn’t returned to earth’s atmosphere.  Jackson’s induction will be introduced by STEVE SPRINGER, a sportswriter for over four decades, including 25 years for the Los Angeles Times. He has authored 13 books, including My 30 Years in Dodger Blue with Fred Claire.  Springer is a member of the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award, a lifetime achievement honor bestowed by the Boxing Writers Association of America.  (Note that Bo Jackson will not be in attendance due to a previous commitment.)

Arnold Hano

Born in 1922, ARNOLD HANO is a prolific writer and social activist, best known for A Day in the Bleachers, his eyewitness account of Game One of the 1954 World Series, a game highlighted by Willie Mays and “The Catch.”  The book became a model for first-person reporting on baseball games, its unique point of view revolutionizing the staid sports journalism of the day.  The popular and critical success of A Day in the Bleachers catapulted Hano into the highest ranks of freelance journalism; his byline soon became ubiquitous in periodicals such as Sport, Sports IllustratedThe Saturday Evening PostEsquire, and both the New York and Los Angeles Times.  He also published biographies on athletes such as Mays, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Muhammad Ali, and others, and was a regular contributor to baseball annuals.  His award-winning career in journalism, and his unabashed love of baseball, are captured in the recent documentary, Hano! A Century in the Bleachers, by filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis.  Hano’s induction will be introduced by JEAN HASTINGS ARDELL, an award-winning writer, editor, and teacher.  She is the author of the book Breaking into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime, and co-author of Ila Borders’ forthcoming memoir, Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Life in Baseball.  Ardell has presented her research at regional and national conferences, including the Society for American Baseball Research, the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, and the NINE Spring Training Conference, the latter which she annually co-chairs.

Wright Auditorium, Pasadena Central Library

Free parking is available in the University of Phoenix underground parking structure, which is located just north of the Pasadena Central Library on the corner of Garfield Avenue and Corson Street.  The entrance to the parking structure is on Garfield.

Before and after the ceremony, we invite you to visit the Baseball Reliquary exhibition, A Baseball Four-Bagger (July 2-July 30), which is being presented in the display cases in the North Entry, Business Wing, and Humanities Wing of the Pasadena Central Library.

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